Editor’s note: This is in regards to our publisher’s blog last week titled, “How Chinatown battles homeless encampments.”
Although street crime has repeatedly victimized me, it was not the homeless who did it. Further, I never give up on a home that bridges the homeless community. Those of us who have found safety can be found to prevent people on the margins from ending up in jails or mental health detention centers.
Clearly, there is no excuse for graffiti, public urination, robbery, or intimidation on the streets of any society, much less an environment where the residents have given so much to the public, as is the case in the International District (ID). But if homeless people cannot pitch a tent under a bridge anywhere, I fail to see how we can possibly answer the issue meaningfully. Where would you turn if you were homeless? The situation caused by flooding in Louisiana is certainly proof that homelessness does not inherently reflect moral character.
The sentiment that galls me most in Assunta Ng’s complaint and call for aggressive action is the idea that police should watch for opportunities to move on the camps, such as drug use. The truth is that police science has a whole history of manufacture for pretexts that fits this description. Not everyone in the indigent Asian community in the ID is safe and clean with respect to malcontent, recreational drugs, and other calls to self-harm. Not only did I have a terrible time with totally unfounded suspicions, but I was personally unable to keep Chinatown youth from causing trouble. They, too, may find themselves among the homeless for need of better education and community care.
I realize that if you put up a sign reading, “We will help you,” the rest of Seattle will say, “Fine, great, get ye to Chinatown.” But if you are willing and capable of taking aggressive action, in my humble opinion, you might consider showing your courage and take that action on behalf of the marginalized.
— Mac Crary
Resident in Exile